Welcome to the first of our weekly list of airgun top tips running throughout July!
Mike Morton is sharing 40-30 of our key tips month, with tricks and techniques to help raise your game and be top of the ‘hit’ parade when you release your next shot.
40. Chrono your rifle
Chronograph your rifle periodically, as well as each time you change ammo, both to ensure your rifle is still within the legal limit and also to confirm both the gun and ammo are performing consistently, with a variation in velocity of only a few feet per second.
39. Mag Versus Tray
If you have a multi-shot PCP, experiment using the supplied magazine, and either a manufacturer-made or aftermarket single-shot tray to see if accuracy is affected. Some rifle/pellet combos benefit from being fired in single-shot mode. For others, it makes no difference at all.
38. The right scope
Choose the correct scope for your needs, taking into account its physical size, magnification range and other features. A scope with a 56mm objective lens may sit too high to achieve good head and eye alignment unless you’ve got an adjustable cheekpiece. Conversely, a 3-9x scope will not be best suited for a discipline like Benchrest.
37. Tweak your trigger
36. The right reticle
Choose the correct reticle for your needs. A simple duplex reticle may be all you need if all your shooting is being carried out at the same distance the rifle was zeroed at, such as the target disciplines of Light Sporting Rifle or Benchrest. But most other types of shooting will require a more complex reticle, allowing for holdover and holdunder.
35. Buy in batches!
When you’ve found a pellet that works well in your gun and you’ve checked the tin for a batch number, buy as many tins of the same batch as you can to assure uniformity across the next few thousand shots.
34. Spend a penny
Coins are a handy way to check accuracy and group size – most people will have a few in their pocket when they’re out shooting. If you’re trying to measure super-accurate groups for pellet testing, then an 18mm five pence piece is a great choice. If you want to check you’re killzone-capable when out hunting, then a 10 pence piece (24.5mm) or £1 coin (23mm) are good bets.
33. Get stable
Unless you’re in competition, or deliberately challenging yourself on the range by using a host of different stances, take the most stable shot possible, especially when hunting. For most people, this will be prone, followed by sitting, kneeling and then standing, using a rest or support.
32. Wade in on the weigh in
If you’re trying to maximise the accuracy your ammo has to offer, use a set of scales to weigh your pellets and group them into batches. Tiny variations probably won’t make much difference, but larger differences in weight can affect point of impact. Delrin tweezers are useful when handling the pellets, as this material won’t scratch lead.
31. Fill up
Never fill a PCP beyond its recommended fill pressure. You will not get any extra shots out of your rifle, but you will be putting extra strain on the seals and working parts. Accuracy may suffer too. If you’ve overfilled by mistake, just dry-fire the rifle until you’re back at the correct standard working pressure.
30. Be realistic
Set yourself achievable targets, especially if you’re a newcomer to the sport. Are you shooting a springer offhand or a PCP off range bags that have been rested on a bench? The results you get will be very different. Don’t get disheartened by not meeting unrealistic expectations. If in doubt, shoot a spinner for instant feedback and reward!